They have a lot in common. Judith Sloan (above) is an actress, audio artist, writer, radio producer, educator and poet whose work combines humor, pathos and a love of the absurd. Warren Lehreris a writer and designer who reunites storytelling with the printed word. This married couple from Sunnyside cofounded EarSay, an arts organization that documents and portrays the lives of the uncelebrated. Their book Crossing the BLVD is part of a multimedia project that began with storytelling workshops in libraries, community centers and schools throughout Queens, and includes public radio documentaries, a traveling exhibition of photographs and sound stations, a performance and an interactive website. This Friday, Sloan will perform excerpts from her work-in-progress Yo Miss! Teaching Inside the Cultural Divide, which mixes theatre, radio and poetry, at the Queens Council on the Arts as part of its 3rd Space program. During the same event, Lehrer will offer a performance/reading of A Life In Books: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley, an illuminated novel consisting of 101 books written by a controversial author who gets introspective while in jail. A discussion about their process and a Q&A with the audience will follow.
Details: Performances by Judith Sloan and Warren Lehrer, Queens Council on the Arts, 37-11 35th Avenue, Astoria, December 6th, 7 pm, $5.
Astoria Park is your last stop in Queens, at which point you’ll be getting wet. The waters which lie off the shore are a section of the formerly industrial East River called Hell Gate. The park offers no water access, of course, but there is a nice walkway along Shore Road which allows one to stroll and observe.
It’s a lovely spot, and quite popular with those lucky enough to live nearby. One is always struck by the polychrome nature of the rocky shoreline, which is deposited to and subtracted from on a daily basis by the tides. On a sunny day, the amount of color one experiences here can literally dazzle.
College students home on break. Parents looking for enrichment activities for their toddlers. Muppet fanatics. Everybody should give thanks for the Museum of the Moving Image this Turkey Day Weekend, as the Astoria venue will offer something for everyone. The fun starts on November 29th with the launch of a six-film retrospective on actress Julianne Moore that will run through December 1st with Steven Spielberg’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park, The Big Lebowski (above), Far From Heaven, Boogie Nights, Safe (introduced by producer Christine Vachon), and The Kids Are All Right. At 1 pm on November 29th, the museum will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the premiere of The Jimmy Dean Show with A Dog’s Life: A Rowlf Retrospective (pictured after the jump). The screening celebrates the pioneering muppet Rowlf’s greatest moments (and some great performances by his creator, the legendary puppeteer Jim Henson) from commercials, industrial films, variety shows and, of course, The Muppet Show. Also on November 29th, there are two Holiday Puppet Party Workshops – during which children will use simple materials and techniques similar to those Henson utilized to make puppets before taking turns performing with them in a short televised puppet show.
Details: Julianne Moore Retrospective, Rowlf Retropective, Puppet Party Workshop, Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria, November 20th through December 1st, times vary, movies free with admission, $5 materials fee for workshops. (more…)
Michelle Jaffé is a Queens-based sound and sculpture artist whose work (see above) is inspired by themes of collective memory and social and political spaces. Marta Jovanovic is a multimedia performance artist whose work (see below) interrogates identity, beauty and sexuality through performance, drawing and photography. This Friday, Jaffé, who has pieces at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Fashion Institute of Technology, will present Neural: Cleave, a sound installation/work-in-progress exploring the raw emotions and power that are conveyed and betrayed by the human voice. Jaffé and the public will then engage in a conversation with Jovanovic, who most recently exhibited at the Bronx Museum’s Biennial and the Venice Agendas at the 55th Venice Biennial. The event is part of a monthly series at 3rd Space, an independent creative spot at the Queens Council of the Arts where the cultural community gathers for activities such as peer sharing, networking and mini-workshops.
Details: 3rd Space featuring Neural: Cleave, Queens Council on the Arts, 37-11 35th Avenue, Astoria, November 22nd, 7 pm, $5. (more…)
Now that electronics control our lives, the Museum of the Moving Image will present a three-day series about films from the Good Old Days, when science fiction trumped computer science. Seven sessions will feature everything from screenings of computer-assisted psychedelia to formative digital advertising to music videos. Plus, some of the first filmmakers to utilize the computer, Larry Cuba, Lillian Schwartz and Dean Winkler, will participate in conversations about their works.
November 15th, 7 pm: Demon Seed (below), a post-humanist thriller starring supercomputer Proteus IV, which can cure leukemia, develop mining techniques, and ruminate on Buddhism. When threatened with a data-wipe, the machine infiltrates the high-tech home of a scientist, trapping his wife to impregnate her with his synthetic spermatozoa.
November 16th, 2 pm: shorts and live event showcasing works by motion graphics pioneer John Whitney, who did the opening titles in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo in 1958, his son John Whitney Jr. and Larry Cuba, who will be on hand.
November 16th, 3:30 pm: shorts from the 1950′s and 1960s, including Norman McLaren and Evelyn Lambert’s oscilloscope film Around is Around, Pierre Hébert’s Around Perception and John Stehura’s Cibernetik 5.3.
November 16th, 5 pm: films and talk with computer artist Lillian Schwartz about her early experiments at Bell Labs and her contemporary digital explorations.
November 16th, 7 pm: Tron (above), a groundbreaking feature about computer programmer Kevin Flynn who is scanned and transported into an autocratic universe of zipping vectors and shiny surfaces, somewhere inside of the mainframe of an arcade game.
November 17th, 2 pm: shorts from the 1970s and 1980s, when computer-generated imagery entered its adolescence with single-channel works and music videos. After the program Tom Sito will sign copies of his new book Moving Innovation: A History of Computer Animation.
November 17th, 5 pm: The Last Starfighter, a film about trailer-park-teen Alex Rogan who lands a job with the Rylan Star League due to his superior arcade-game prowess. Rogan must defend the universe from the tyrannical Xur and his armada of evil Kodans.
Put simply, Raus! Get Outta Here! is one big, fat, Greek comedy. The country’s free-falling economy gets so bad that six wildly different characters — an official of the Ministry of Transportation, his pharmacist wife, a nurse, two prostitutes and their flamboyant assistant — conspire to get a grant from the European Union to establish a cultural organization. It’s a sham, of course, and after a German EU commissioner unexpectedly shows up to check on the project’s legitimacy, hilarity ensues. In conjunction with the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York, Raus!, which had a two-year run at the Peiraios Theater in Athens, shows on weekends throughout November at the Stathakion Cultural Center in Astoria.
There are a lot of dirty fingernails in Western Queens, and many of those hands are soiled while working in the automotive industry. Quite a few garages which specialize in the restoration of “classic cars” are found hereabouts and you can often find gems casually parked on the street.
Recently, I found myself at the corner of 31st Street and 38th Avenue at the border of hospitable Dutch Kills and almond eyed Astoria. This is one of those posts where I show off my detective skills, as to the particulars of this classic car. It is, and was, a Pontiac.
That’s all I had to go on when I started this post.
With rolling, verdant hills that stretch as far as the eye can see, the British countryside is one of the most beautiful places on earth. However, it does not host the planet’s most tolerant society for extra-marital affairs. Especially in 1923. From November 7th through November 23rd, those hills come alive in Queens, thanks to the world premiere of The Cottage, presented by the Astoria Performing Arts Center. This play — written by Sandy Rustin, directed by Adam Dannheisser of Rock of Ages fame and inspired by Noel Coward — features sex, betrayal, love and linguistic gymnastics. The action begins when Sylvia Van Kipness comes forward about a tryst to her husband and her lover’s wife. The true meanings of fate, identity and marriage are called into question as a surprising, hilarious web of secrets unravels in this ridiculous — potentially murderous — romantic comedy. As a special treat, Rustin, the rest of the cast and APAC Artistic Director Tom Wojtunik will participate in a talk-back with the audience after the November 16th performance.
One is Scandinavian. The other was out of this world. But both trailblazing artists are heading to the Museum of the Moving Image. On November 2nd, the Astoria institution pays tribute to recently deceased musician Lou Reed (above) by screening the documentary Berlin. After his 1972 song “Walk on the Wild Side” made him famous, Reed recorded a mournful concept album called “Berlin” in 1973. The initial harsh reviews — Rolling Stone magazine called it a “disaster” — prevented the Brooklyn born songwriter from performing the album live until three decades later, when the tides had turned and it was considered one of Reed’s best. With painter and director Julian Schnabel art-directing, the documentary uses footage from five 2006 performances with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus at DUMBO’s St. Ann’s Warehouse. (Schnabel will introduce the movie in person.) Plus, from November 1st through November 9th, the museum presents a retrospective on filmmaker Anja Breien, featuring six features and a program of shorts with the director in person for some screenings and the opening reception. Highly celebrated in her native Norway but little-known outside, Breien makes political and feminist fiction flicks and documentaries. Her first big one, a critique of the Norwegian judicial system called “Rape,” starts simultaneously at the beginning and the end, working its way into the middle. Her riposte Wives (below) follows three housewives who relinquish family responsibilities for a day. Its sequel featured the same characters played by the same actors 10 years later. See full retrospective schedule here.
Details: Berlin, Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria, November 2nd, 7:30 pm, free with admission, $12 adults/$9 seniors and students.
Bonus details: Retrospective on Anja Breien, Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35th Avenue, Astoria, November 1st through November 9th, times vary, free. (more…)